Iodine deficiency is the world’s single major cause of mental retardation. It affects brain development during the early stages of pregnancy and in early childhood, Severe iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) include cretinism, stillbirth and miscarriage and increase mother and Child mortality rate stated by Provincial Program Manager, Nutrition International Dr. Fatima Saad when She was addressing Media on Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) day after the awareness walk Jointly Organized by Nutrition International (NI), UNWFP and UNICEF on Thursday outside Karachi Press Club.
Even mild deficiency can cause a significant loss of learning ability – about 13.5 intelligence quotient points (IQ points) at population level – as well as other symptoms such as goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) is the leading cause of preventable brain damage (Mental handicaps) worldwide, producing typical reductions in IQ.
Majority of consequences of IDD are invisible and profound affecting the quality of human life but at the same time very much preventable.
In the past, iodine deficiency was thought to cause only goiter and cretinism. However, over the last quarter of the century, it has become increasingly clear that iodine deficiency leads to a much wider spectrum of disorders commencing with the intrauterine life and extending through childhood into adult life with serious health and social problems including the effect of IDD on stunting of the children which is the most serious emerging nutritional deficiency.
The spectrum of diseases includes goiter, cretinism, hypothyroidism, brain damage, abortion still birth, mental retardation, psychomotor defects, hearing and speech impairment said by the representative of Health Department, Govt. of Sindh Ms Syfoor and Dr Naveed Bhutto.
Dr.Sarwan from ( NI) said that an estimated 38 million newborns in developing countries every year remain unprotected from the lifelong consequences of brain damage associated with iodine deficiency disorders. The project aims to ensure that all the edible salt produced or imported from other provinces must be adequately iodized.